Ryan Kussmaul started out the season 0-2, but he has been on a roll lately, and was looking for his third straight win on Friday night. After allowing just 3-hits in 6-innings, Kussmaul blanked Fargo-Moorhead for six-innings and the bats for the Wichita Wingnuts produced 15-hits in the 12-4 victory. Harrison Kain went 3-4 with 3-runs and 3-RBI and Brent Clevlen also had 3-hits and 3-RBI to pace the team.
Kussmaul was devastating early, tossing perfect frames through the first four innings of the game. He had 4-strikeouts through that period and Fargo-Moorhead looked clueless as to how to solve the right-hander. In the fifth they would finally end the run when Josh Mazzola led off with a single. In the sixth, the RedHawks would load the bases on a single, a walk, and hit batter, but the Wingnuts starter struck out K.D. Kang to end the threat.
Ryan Kussmaul (3-2) would be done after 6-innings, allowing 3-hits and 2-walks with no runs allowed. He struck out 7.
While Kussmaul was shutting down the RedHawks bats, the offense was having no issues with Mike O’Neal. In the bottom of the first, Harrison Kain led off with a single. Two batters later, Brent Clevlen drilled his second homer of the season over the left-center field wall to make it 2-0.
Wichita added three more runs in the bottom of the second. With one down, Martin Medina singled down the right field line and moved to second on a base hit by Brennen Salgado. That brought Leo Vargas to the plate, who drilled a ball into right-center that was just out of the reach of the right fielder. Medina came around to score and the lead was three. A sacrifice fly by Kain plated Salgado, and a wild pitch brought home Vargas to make it 5-0.
In the bottom of the third, the Wichita Wingnuts put this game away. Medina led off with a double and Salgado walked to put two on with no one out. A ground out by Vargas moved both runners into scoring position and Kain brought them both home when he doubled down the line in right field to make it 7-0. Christian Stringer was hit by a pitch, and both runners moved up on a double steal. A sacrifice fly by Clevlen brought home Kain and Mittelstaedt would plate Stringer when he beat out an infield single and Stringer raced all the way from second to score. Mittelstaedt took second on the play and scored on a base hit by Chavez. That made it 10-0.
In the bottom of the fifth, Wichita extended their lead to 12. Kain started the inning with his third hit of the game and moved to third on a double by Clevlen. Mittelstaedt brought Kain home with a ground out, and Matt Chavez brought home the final Wingnuts run of the game with a ground single into left.
In the seventh, Jesse Pratt relieved for Wichita and Fargo-Moorhead would finally get on the board. Mitch Delfino singled to start the inning, but was replaced on the base paths on a fielder’s choice by Charlie Valerio. That brought Kes Carter to the plate, who cleared the wall in center field with his fifth homer of the season to make it 12-2.
In the eighth, the RedHawks would get two more. Mike Schwartz walked with one down and moved to third on a double by Josh Mazzola. That brought Kang to the plate, who singled up the middle, scoring both runs to make it 12-4. The RedHawks would get no closer.
Brent Clevlen and Harrison Kain both finished the game 3-4 with 3-RBI. Clevlen scored twice while Kain came across home three times. T.J. Mittelstaedt and Matt Chavez each had 2-hits and 2-RBI for Wichita. Josh Mazzola led the Fargo-Moorhead offense with 2-hits and a run scored.
The Wichita Wingnuts and Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks will continue Game 2 of their three-game set tomorrow. Charlie Leesman (1-0, 0.00) goes for Wichita. He will be opposed by Will Solomon (1-0, 3.56). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.
By Robert Pannier